The Dusty Diary #1

When I first started blogging, I used to write about my daily encounters with different things. My Tumblr blog used to be a diary of sorts and since this pandemic has been really affecting my mental health, I felt that I needed to write these kind of stuff again because writing my feelings down is therapeutic for me. I needed to take extra steps that I think will help me get through this, so here I am:

It has been nearly three months since the lockdown was imposed in my country, and despite forcing myself to stay positive amidst all this ⁠— well, this pandemic and quarantine really did take a toll on my mental health.

During the first couple of weeks, I was able to stay sane by focusing on work, reading books, and sometimes I even tried to learn new things (e.g., cooking and making dessert). I thought I had my anxiety under control, but as the days go by and as the quarantine period in my side of the world was extended and extended and extended, I found myself more and more anxious. I tried distracting myself by spending way too much time on online shops which resulted in, of course, me buying so many things like books and skincare products. For a while, I was really happy ⁠— receiving a package sort of  gives you that giddy feeling like receiving a gift on your birthday or on Christmas. It worked for a while, I felt happy whenever a package is delivered on our front door and I liked the thrill of opening it and, of course, using the products.

Again, I thought I had it under control, but last week, I’ve been having a hard time sleeping. I am tired and sleepy, but every time I try to close my eyes, my mind goes into a spiral of thoughts that I just can’t shake. I am overthinking again, and it seemed a lot worse than before this pandemic started. I’ve been thinking about the pandemic, the lockdown, my future, my stress from work and my deadlines ⁠— there were so many things running through my mind all at once that it felt like my head was going to crack open. I even came to a point where I cried and begged my mind to just stop thinking and just let me rest ⁠— I was so freaking restless.

Right now, I bought an over-the-counter medicine for some dosage of melatonin to help me sleep at night and I’ve also been drinking tea or milk before going to bed. I’ve been taking the meds for two days now, and so far, it’s helping me pretty well with my sleep though I’m still having occasional breakdowns during the day. I hope I get to cope up with all that is happening because having a mental breakdown at this time is so much harder.

I’ve also been constantly talking with my boyfriend and some of my friends about it, and most of them keep on telling me to just don’t overthink things as I do not have control over everything. I agree, I totally freaking agree, but the thing is, I just can’t force my mind to just stop thinking about everything. As I’ve mentioned, I even came to a point where I begged my mind to just stop ⁠— the noise in my head just don’t know how to stop. It sounds crazy, but it feels that way and I’ve been having intense headaches because of it. It’s so hard to deal with my anxiety, stress, and panic attacks when everything around me is stressing the hell out of me.

I hope that these baby steps like taking in dosages of melatonin, drinking tea/milk, and writing my heart out helps a bit with what I’m currently feeling because I don’t know what else to do.

You Are What Matters

“I saw that my life was a vast glowing empty page and I could do anything I wanted.” – Jack Kerouac

We’re kind of iffy when it comes to exploring things out of our comfort zone. What makes it a problem is that most of us would rather stick with the same familiar pain that have been hurting us for quite a long time. We settle for the pain that we’ve been trying to fix rather than just dive into a foreign one where new things await us — maybe with even lesser pain. Most of the time we’re overthinking about how we don’t want to mess things up — crowding our minds with the thought that we might be making the wrong decision or for most of us, we’re all just afraid of not being able to meet the standards that were built for us by other people — family, society, and friends.

Almost two years ago, I was bound to make a decision that will change a big part of my life. I was so eager to choose what I know is best for me and what I know for sure will make me happy, and that’s exactly what I did regardless of what other people might think of me. It wasn’t a very smooth journey and there were a lot of rough times, but up to this day, it is still one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

There are still other situations where it’s really hard to get it inside our minds to stop overthinking and just go for what we feel is right. Of course, it has always been easier said than done when we’re choosing between what we’ve grown too accustomed to and something entirely new. Personally, there were some situations in my life recently where I’ve been trying to tell myself that I shouldn’t care what these people think. A cornucopia of thoughts keep flooding up my mind and it’s not really mentally healthy anymore — these people tend to make me compare myself with someone else as if that person is the “standards” that I have to meet when I know for a fact that I am capable of doing way better. I know for sure that I am also capable of being the best person that I can be.

To be honest, I will never be like the person they prefer, because I know that in my own little ways, I am better and I am slowly trying to make as much progress in my life so that I can one day turn into the person I’ve always wanted to be; not what they think I should be. It’s okay to never meet someone’s standards, we don’t live for them anyways.

I know that there are days when we feel so down that no matter how many times a day we tell ourselves that we got this and that we are better than what they think — that they shouldn’t matter, at the back of my mind, it still does and it sucks that we’re having a hard time burying those thoughts away. I truly want to set myself free of all the chains that are preventing me to move forward but I also know that it takes time to rid myself of the poison in my head.

Slowly, that day will come, one step at a time. I just need to keep reminding myself that there are so many ways to live, and if I continue letting these people pull me down, I will end up in the pits of somewhere I don’t belong to. Sometimes our prison is our own mind, but please take some time to think things through and realize that we shouldn’t let these negative thoughts slow us down.

So to everyone feeling the same way, please always remember that there is so much beauty in each day. Free yourself of the prison that is your mind. May we all emancipate ourselves from this. We’ll all get through this.

Reading Shamelessly

In my country, being a bully is a thing when you’re in elementary. Back in the day, a lot of kids think that bullying gives them power and confidence which allows them to make the rules and trample on everyone who gets in their way. I wasn’t very popular, and some of my classmates made fun of me just for the sake of having someone to make fun of. I know I’m not the only person in the world who experienced this, but that doesn’t make me feel better. If anything, thinking about it and all those kids who’ve gone through the same thing saddens me even more.

Those elementary days were a tough phase for most of us. At the time, it used to make me sad, heck, I even come home crying on some days. However, I found solace in books. My books were the ones who stuck by me during those rough years of my life. I read a lot of Goosebumps, Nancy Drew, and Hardy Boys back then and they made me happy.

A couple of years later, one of those Scholastic Book Fairs was held in our school for the first time (which became an annual bookish event in our campus), and I was introduced to other genres. I stumbled upon Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling and up to this day, I am so happy that I picked it up all those years ago because it not only got me into reading fantasy and dystopian books, it also gave me the opportunity to travel and enter different countries and worlds without moving my feet.

Then, one day, I stumbled upon a box of all of my mom’s and aunt’s old books which consists of those little Sweet Valley High and Babysitters Club books along with some of Nicholas Sparks novels. I started reading them and was introduced to a new genre and an entirely different perspective.

At a young age, I was completely in love with chick lit. It instantly became on of my favorites. There were times when I would stay up so late reading books, bawling my eyes out because of how a Nicholas Sparks novel ended and I found myself wanting to read more and more books — I just couldn’t get enough. To this day, Nicholas Sparks is still my all-time favorite author when it comes to the contemporary romance genre.

Given that I was one of the target of bullies when I was in elementary, I didn’t have a lot of friends. Some of them even made fun of me because I liked reading books, called me a nerd, a dork, and other awful things. At some point, I stopped bringing my books in school. It was terrible but I never really let go of reading because why would I? They are my escape from this cruel world.

The few friends that I have wasn’t really that into reading so I didn’t have anyone to share my insights and feelings with. In high school, I decided to never let anyone bully me again. I did not turn into a bully myself, but I found the courage to talk back to people who say bad things about me. I managed to gain a bigger group of friends who I’m still friends with up to this day and the most important thing is most of them liked to read novels, too.

It was in the end of my high school years that I found out about John Green, Jenny Han, Paulo Coelho, and so many other authors. Then I lost track of the years. I read and devoured so many books in those years until college — until today.

To be honest, I would like to thank those bullies in my elementary years because if it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t have found out about the comfort and joy that books bring — I wouldn’t have fallen in love with reading. How about you? What’s that one bookish story you will never forget? What made you read books? Do you still remember the first book you’ve ever read? Tell me in the comments, I’d love to engage in your bookish journey.

Also, here are some links that I enjoyed reading online in the past couple of weeks of quaratine-ing:

 

26 Titles Since Year 1

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Photo taken by: JNVQ

It’s my birthday today, and this quarantine kind of sucks because I can’t celebrate it with the one person I would have loved to spend it with but I just keep in mind that this is all for the best. We need to stay separated for a while now, so that we can spend more birthdays together in the future.

For the past couple of years, I’ve been doing blog posts about the lessons I’ve learned in my x number of years here on Earth. This year, I thought that maybe I could tweak the concept a little because to be honest, I’m running out of lessons to take note of. Not that I do not learn new things anymore, but it’s just so hard to jot them down year after year. Also, to be honest, I feel like most of the lessons I write were carried over from the past year. So yeah, that concept kinda gets boring in time.

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My Usual Friday Night

How does my usual Friday night look like, you say? I try to relieve my stresses from the past work week by spending all night in my bedroom, reading a book (and sometimes drinking milk or tea). I just like the peacefulness I get when I’m locked inside my room with no one to bother me — free from the toxicity of the house.

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On the days where I don’t feel like reading at all (yes, it happens and I feel guilty about it), I watch random rom-coms or my favorite Netflix series (e.g., Riverdale).

Last year, I was suffering from a very bad reading slump because the book I was reading (Timeline by Michael Crichton) felt really dragging + I am so hooked to Friends and other Netflix shows! I am sort of disappointed with Timeline, though, because I feel like it has so much to offer. After reading half of the book, I decided to just put it down for a while because I really have a lot of books on my TBR.

Currently, I’m reading the second book in the Robert Langdon series by Dan Brown and I’m almost halfway through it. As usual, the fast-paced writing style of Dan Brown kept me up at night. I’m so excited to read all the books in this series.

This post has been more like an update re: my reading status, the reading slump was also the reason why I have nothing to write for my Stuff I’ve Been Reading Lately series. I’ll make up to it next month, I promise.